Monday, April 03, 2006

Chapter 33 - And in This Corner...Will Shakespeare

An Experimental Essay


I woke up about 1:30 am thinking about words, what makes them last, what makes them work…these thoughts fired by the article I read recently in Harper’s at the library. Writer Ben Marcus was berating, belittling, dressing down, hammering, working the small bag that was his head, Jonathon Franzen for supposedly berating, belittling, dressing down…Experimental Literature. It was a good, fairly long article, much like watching a good boxer work his stuff on a stuffed opponent… He was good, this Marcus kid, and he made me want to read some of his stuff, but I was a little disappointed that Franzen couldn’t fight back. After all, some of the head region combinations and body shots were suspect and could have been taken out of context. For example, isn’t Don Delillo what you would consider a "difficult" experimental writer, isn’t he one of Franzen’s heroes? It seems some of Ben’s arguments could be sorted under Experimental Logic…

I was thinking of Hemingway and his spare, almost biblical, approach to the use of language. Only using words he knew would last, themes that are in themselves biblical. How literature can be like wine and actually get better with age. Here is a small passage from The Garden of Eden that speaks my meaning perfectly…(passage coming soon)


During his time Hemingway was an experimenter, and while on the surface there seems little difficulty in his arrangement of words, there are many layers, depths, philosophical questions that arise, and we are free to think of them or not. We are free to skip happily along the surface or to dive into the darker regions…or both…which brings me to a useful solution to what Sherman Alexie called (in his letter concerning Marcus’ article) “The East Coast East Coast Literary Rap War":
Writing, whether it be difficult or easy to fathom, is always experimental if it’s any good...

But words do not last. They change, mutate, die out …Which ones will survive this century no one knows for sure. But for sure some will and some will not and in some the meaning will change as Will S. new. But what makes him last more than anything are his ideas suited in word phrases of such lasting electrical beauty that you could think of him as a one man baseball team in the literary lasting game…

J has been reading her beloved Joyce and while discussing him she says he had
"…A brain loaded down with knowledge like a daisy with too much dew."

She droops her head slowly toward the mattress she's situated on, among her large stuffed animals and pillows and down comforter. It's sweet, true and funny and we both laugh. We have surrounded ourselves with books and we're happy now that we can take hot baths, via the electricity that has finally been turned on. ! .

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